Sunday, December 14, 2008

Remember back in UP high school?

Who can forget high school? Many songs have been written about high school days. Jim Croce's Salon and Saloon perhaps encapsulates what it was all about.

"Sometimes I think about our good old high school days
You would always kid about my adolescent ways
Oh, Mary, Mary, good to see you too
Haven't seen to many of the old crew
The time just flew, and how are you? 

Of course, for many Pinoys Sharon Cuneta's "High School" remains as The High School song.

Enough of those songs. But the University of the Philippines Intergrated School (UPIS) last Saturday celebrated its 2008 General Alumni Homecoming and Reunion at the university's Bahay ng Alumni. The UPIS is the merger of UP elementary, high, and preparatory schools. The reunion is different from all others since it was also in celebration of the university's centennial. Thus it was well attended beyond expectation.

Well some of the alums and teachers I haven't since since we parted after the graduation ball in 1984. My chem teacher, Butch Arias, I haven't seen in 24 years. He's still the same but has lost his coiffure (didn't many of us did?) The teachers? Many are still able to do the swing, though now gray. A few have remained ageless. Mrs Nancy Tomacruz- Flor, our home economics teacher, seems not to have aged at all. To the consternation of her once high school girls, she has maintained her figure. The girls can only turn green with envy! I saw the girls flabbergasted to see that she is still as sexy as before, in a gown that accentuates what is good about her!

I was extremely happy to see and talk to my kindergarten teacher, Mrs Lesaca. I haven't seen her since I moved up from kindergarten in 1973! Mrs Lesaca now nearing 90, was the only senior citizen teacher who didn't need an escort or 'alalay" to ascend the stage to receive her award. It is true that everything we need to know about life, we learned from teachers like her.

As I said, the gentlemen of 1984 have lost their hair and put on biomass! The ladies, like Cayen Arceo nee Pilar (3rd from the left) have done much better! In the center is Harold Ignacio, Class 1984's president.

The class of 1958 received their tributes. The most famous member of this class is no other than Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati (3rd from the right). If Jojo Binay becomes the Pinoy Obama in 2010, he would be the 3rd President of the Philippines that UP High has produced.  Ferdinand Marcos and Fidel V Ramos were the first two presidents.

The class of 1983, this year's host have proven that 25 years later, they still have the moves!

While the class of 1968, taught us about 60s sartorial history!

And best of all, the class of 1963 band played a repertoire of Beatles songs. These gentlemen haven't played on stage since their senior prom. That's why the alums who have become cardiologists were on call, just in case they were needed! But they weren't and we had a good time!

Our class president Mr Harold Ignacio, receives the Oblation symbolizing the turnover of responsibility for hosting the 2009 reunion to my class. The Oblation is more than a symbol of the University of the Philippines.  If one is presented it (as all UP students are at their graduation), it means one has to 1) sacrifice, 2) work hard 3) have sleepless nights and 4) do more work for the service of the nation.

Too bad for most people, the Oblation has been identified with male streakers! It is more than that! As we will see.

Also recent years have seen rumors and proposals to abolish UPIS. If there is one thing that would make UP high alums go ballistic, this would be it. In fact a UP president and some members of the Board of Regents were amazed that alums were "fiercely loyal to their high school".

Why? Because everything we are now, we owe to the school!

The evening ended with the singing of the University hymn, UP Beloved and UP Naming Mahal. The older alumni sang with gravitas the original English version. The younger alums sang the Filipino version with even more bravado. The university hymn define the alums. Perhaps in no other high school in the Philippines is the high school graduate expected to offer him/herself for the service of the nation, than in UP High. 

Sing forth the message, ring out with courage.
All hail thou hope of our dear land! 

Humayo't itanghal, giting at tapang
Mabuhay ang pag asa ng bayan!

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